Media and equipment stores summer review - Part Two
lorensbergs new 5 Top Tips
Here’s the second instalment of our Top Tips for achieving best practice in your store or media centre. Do these tips resonate with you? Do any surprise you? What have you already implemented? What is your next opportunity for improvement? We look forward to your feedback!
Our recommendations are based on over 10 years practical experience of working with academic institutions setting up and tailoring equipment borrowing services for students, improving access to resources and streamlining administration through our connect2 solution. This is the best practice our customers would be happy to share…
Communication, communication, communication
Set up automated email reminders to encourage prompt return of equipment. Late returns impact other students who are waiting to checkout equipment and can be time consuming to chase up. Consider increasing the frequency of reminders as the return deadline for an item approaches. It may go without saying but it is also helpful to ensure that the return time is clearly displayed and understood at the point of booking and checkout. In other words, take every opportunity to communicate to students how to return an item on time!!
Use penalties to ensure prompt equipment returns
If late returns are still a problem, consider using penalties. Automatic allocation of fines and suspension from borrowing further equipment are two tried and tested deterrents, often most effective when combined together, i.e. you can’t borrow more equipment until you’ve paid up and all items are returned. Needless to say, fines should increase the later the equipment is returned.
Smarter working saves time
Even if items are booked in advance, assign each individual item to the loan at the point of checkout. This means you don’t waste time hunting for a single particular item. This applies particularly with a barcoded system where items can be part of a ‘family’ in being interchangeable with other near-identical items.
Measure risks from the start
As part of the booking process, take the opportunity to include an online form for gathering additional information on the circumstances or reason for a booking. These forms are ideal for making risk assessments an integral part of your booking process. They can also be used for informing an authorising member of staff on whether to proceed with a student’s booking request for more specialised or expensive items of equipment.
No student card = no kit!
Get students in good habits and avoid having those who are more organised being delayed by a queue. With a system that connects automatically to your student database or Active Directory it’s straightforward to identify students using their student card. Without this, it takes longer to establish who an individual is and what they’re authorised to borrow. Insisting on seeing their card also ensures that the booking is held under the right name in case of the need for chasing up on a late return.
To read the initial Top 10 list click here.
lorensbergs' range of intelligent and customisable online booking solutions have been designed to facilitate booking processes and improve efficiencies in universities and colleges, libraries and public authorities. The connect2 solution is used in media centres, equipment stores and more widely across academic institutions to offer far-reaching benefits to both students and staff.